Guidelines for the Disposal of Records by abstraks

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									                                  UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN

                       GUIDELINES FOR THE DISPOSAL OF RECORDS

1   INTRODUCTION

    The retention of unnecessary paper and electronic records wastes staff time, space and
    equipment. It can also unnecessarily incur liability to answer information requests made under
    the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, and in some
    instances for the University to be in breach of such legislation. For example, the Data Protection
    Act requires records containing personal data to be kept for no longer than necessary; and the
    institution can be sued for retaining unnecessary information in the event that this causes
    damage to someone.

    In this context disposal of records refers to their appropriate destruction or their transferral
    to the University Archive when they have reached the end of their specified retention period.
    The appropriate retention periods and associated disposal actions are defined in the
    institutional   Records     Retention    Schedules:      http://www.abdn.ac.uk/central/records-
    management/retention-schedules.pdf

    Essentially, there are two ways of disposing of records:
     Destruction of records which no longer have value
     Records with an enduring value to the institution being transferred to the University Archive

2   MAINTAINING A RECORD OF DESTRUCTION

    The Section 61 Code of Practice on Records Management (issued under the Freedom of
    Information (Scotland) Act 2002) requires that the University log the destruction of its records.
    This does not expect that the disposal of each and every document be included, but rather, the
    disposal of distinct groups or series of records should be recorded. For example, a record of
    the disposal of ephemeral or transitory material (e.g. a draft document or an e-mail of short-term
    significance) or convenience copies (i.e., copies made and kept for ease of reference) is not
    required.

    Annex A provides a Disposal Template to record the removal of records for which a record of
    disposal needs to be retained. It is suggested that completed forms be kept for 20 years as part
    of documentation of records management practices and procedures.

3   HOW TO DISPOSE OF RECORDS

    3.1   Destruction of Paper Records

          To make the disposal of records a manageable process, sections should aim to have an
          office clearout on at least an annual basis. It should be noted that Shred-It consoles are
          intended purely for day-to-day use and not for large volumes of paper. If an office
          clearance is likely to generate a substantial amount of waste paper, the Waste and
          Environmental Manager should be contacted (tel: 01224 272053) who will make
          appropriate arrangements for secure destruction with the contractors. (Please do not
          contact the contractor directly).

    3.2   Destruction of Electronic Records

          As part of everyday computer use electronic records are “destroyed” by “deleting” them.
          However, this type of deletion does not eradicate the data which remains on the disk in a
          hidden form, and, if held on servers or shared drives, will be kept on a back up tape for a
          specified period. Likewise, reformatting can leave hidden data on the disk meaning it is
          possible to retrieve information deleted in this way.

          When dealing with sensitive information, further measures are necessary to erase data
          fully (see: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/diss/docu/disposal-policy.hti#dataremoval)
         For portable media such as a disk or CD, the best way to destroy the information contained
         is to destroy the item concerned. Floppy disks should be bent, broken, or cut into pieces.
         CDs should be broken, or scored over with a suitably sharp instrument. Items can then be
         placed directly into a general waste container.

         In the case of information held on servers or shared drives, the responsibility for retention
         lies with DIT.

4.   TRANSFER OF RECORDS TO THE UNIVERSITY ARCHIVE

     Records which have been identified as having long term or historical value or which require to
     be kept permanently, should, at present, be retained in the section which created them and
     advice sought from the University Archivist (tel: 01224 272929).

Note:
While records should be disposed of in line with the guidance in the relevant retention schedule, it
should be noted that records which are subject to a current Freedom of Information request should
not be destroyed until at least 40 days after the request has been answered.

Phil Astley
Records Manager
September 2007
Annex A: Template for recording disposal of records



                                        Disposal of Records


 Section:                       Name:                         Date:


 Title of Record:


 Format:


 Reason for disposal:


 Method of disposal:            Destruction                   Transferred
 (tick relevant box)                                          to archive


 If destroyed, method of
 destruction:


 Date of disposal:


 Authority:


 Not subject to current information request:
 (tick once checked)

								
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